Outwitting The 420 Brigade

On Colorado’s Interstate 70, mile marker 420 signs kept disappearing, winding up in the possession of pot smokers, who wanted a snicker-worthy souvenir to celebrate their favorite pastime. 420, in case you live under a rock, is a revered number in cannabis culture, shorthand for “let’s get high.” The term was invented by a group of San Rafael, California teenagers in 1971, who planned to meet at 4:20 to smoke weed. April 20 has since become a counterculture holiday across the land, and is especially celebrated in (where else?) Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco. And they say hippies are extinct!

In an effort to put a stop to the sign crime, the Colorado Department of Transportation came up with a rather novel solution. They replaced the 420 mile marker with a sign reading 419.99 miles instead.

Pretty freakin’ clever, if you ask me.

This isn’t the first time CDOT had to get creative with road signs. Amorous bandits kept taking off with Mile Marker 69 signs near Fort Collins. No need to explain the why behind that one, I hope. This is supposed to be a family blog, yo.

Well played, Colorado.
Well played, Colorado.

On a related note, my parents and I got into a conversation on Saturday about the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in Washington state. They are staunchly and conservatively against this, while I voted YES and helped get the initiative passed. It’s a touchy subject, to be sure. Especially considering Audrey and a friend were approached last week and offered weed by a strange man. Gulp. At least they were honest about it, which gave me the opportunity to sit down with her and say DON’T YOU DARE EVER IN A MILLION YEARS. (Actually, I didn’t phrase it like that, but I did tell her to stay away from drugs, especially those offered by strange men. Fortunately, she knows better than that). But then I turned around and argued that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and that it’s got a place in society beyond use by those with medical conditions. The last thing in the world I want to do is glorify pot smoking, but I also hate to condemn it, as well. I personally feel that smoking marijuana is not on the same par as taking other drugs, and if people want to toke up behind closed doors where they aren’t harming anybody, let ’em. Obviously I feel differently if they step behind the wheel of a car while high and cause an accident. It’s all about being responsible, of course. I guess I just have a live-and-let-live philosophy, based on my attitude toward gay marriage and other social issues. And while I disagree with my parents’ stance, I certainly respect it.

Let Me Hear Your Body Talk

In less-controversial news, Tara and I quit LA Fitness last week, and switched to a membership with 24 Hour Fitness. We have nothing for or against either club, but the bottom line is, we were unable to find a good time to work out consistently at LA Fitness. First we tried mornings, but getting up at 4:50, dragging yourself out in the cold and rain, and exercising for 30 minutes or so max before going to work just sucked. We were tired, and our workout time was limited since we had to shower and prep for work still. So then we switched to working out in the evenings after we got home from work, but that wasn’t ideal, either. We were tired from working all day, and hungry, and still had to worry about cooking dinner. We’d end up eating at 8:00 some nights and heading upstairs for bed at 9:00. No bueno. But this 24 Hour Fitness facility is smack dab between both of our jobs, just a couple of minutes away. This offers the perfect solution: working out during our lunch hour! We’re just a week in and it’s already become an established routine. We’re able to get in about a 40-minute workout during a time of day where we have plenty of energy. We don’t lose any sleep in the process, and aren’t eating dinner close to bedtime.

However, now there’s the issue of The Locker Room.

I feel like an adolescent still, because the sight of naked men letting it all hang out is something I’ll never get used to. I’ve seen more pasty, flabby buttocks in the past week than at any time ever. It’s as though I landed on a planet where nudity in social settings is the norm. Some white-haired old guy was talking about “great football next weekend” and all I could do was nod my head in agreement while carefully looking the other way in order to avoid his dangling junk. I mean, I’m no prude or anything, but I had been avoiding the shower because it seemed far too stressful. I’ve ramped up my workouts though, which translates to sweat, and while I’m not the type to ever really smell bad, I do get self-conscious over returning to the office with sweat coating the back of my neck and my shirt collar. So today I swallowed my pride and made my way to the showers.

Only to discover the stalls don’t have doors.

What the hell kind of voyeuristic outfit are they trying to run here?! I thought as I faced the wall, hunched over, scrubbing and rinsing as quickly as humanly possible. Had I known there were no doors, I would have made a beeline for the shower on the opposite end, against the far wall, rather than the one right up front that everybody else walks by. I felt like a zoo animal on display.

I realize as I write this that I’ll probably never join a nudist club in my life.

Meanwhile, Tara regales me with tales of her locker room experience, and I can’t help but envy her. “You wouldn’t believe all the boobs I saw today,” she’ll say, and if that isn’t turning the screw just a little bit tighter, I don’t know what is.

“I’m sure they’re all old and ugly,” I say, in an effort to stave off any additional jealousy. “Floppy, saggy, and…”

My voice trails off because I can tell by the look on her face that they are anything but that. A fact that she confirms without hesitation. She’s using words like “perky” and “curves” and I’m just tuning it all out, because life is so damn unfair…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

22 thoughts on “Outwitting The 420 Brigade

  1. “Pretty freakin’ clever, if you ask me.”

    Yes, very clever indeed!

    And I totally agree with you on the marijuana topic, Mark. It is less harmful than alcohol and it’s not on the same par with other drugs.

    Obviously I feel differently if they step behind the wheel of a car while high and cause an accident. It’s all about being responsible, of course.”

    Exactly. And it’s the same with alcohol. Responsibility.

    Glad to hear that the change in fitness center is working out better.

    And I laughed my ass off at your description of the locker room. HILARIOUS!

    “I feel like an adolescent still, because the sight of naked men letting it all hang out is something I’ll never get used to.”

    I’m the SAME WAY, I kid you not! I can’t even go to a nude beach without staring at the sand all day 🙂


  2. There is no way I’d want to take a mass shower, either. We moved last year and now have a basement workout room. Now we have no excuses!

    The good news for you is that by February, you’ll probably have the showers to yourself!


    1. I hadn’t even thought of it as a mass shower, but in many ways, that’s exactly right! With just a thin pane of plexiglass separating you from your naked stall mate, it might as well be all out in the open. Yikes.

      Here’s hoping to many failed resolutions! 🙂


  3. I want to know, if I had to get a disease that’s going to kill me, why couldn’t it be one I could smoke pot for? I don’t get to smoke nothing with COPD, so even though I have a good reason to get high – I can’t. Boo hoo! A few hours drive & I could be in Washington where it’s legal too!


    1. Well, the nice thing is, if you do come to Washington you don’t even need to have a reason other than “I want to.” Of course, they’re still busy trying to figure out the rules regarding dispensaries, etc. so it’s not like I can pop into the corner store and order 1/8 of Maui Wowee.

      Yet, anyway.


  4. To start with the pot debate you start on here is something I have been struggling with myself. I have been so against is for so long but you are right that it really is better than alcohol. Don’t get me wrong I certainly do not promote it but I am starting to take the attitude of if they want to do it, let them. Who am I to say otherwise? My problem becomes what if my kids turn into people who want to do it? Would I be okay with that? I don’t know. Too many questions.

    As for your gym experience please remember it might be a little more “fair” than you think. Being a woman I know that looking around and perky and curvy bodies is no more fun for me than you looking at hanging junk. I am reminded all too well about my less than perfect body and trust me that feeling beats a momentary feeling of discomfort.


    1. That’s where it gets tricky, right? When kids are involved. You don’t want to come off as a hypocrite, but you also don’t want to cave in and ignore your true beliefs just because it’s an unpleasant topic to deal with.

      My wife said the same thing about the gym, lol.


  5. So let me ask you…bragging about some other guy’s wangly dangly doesn’t have the same effect as another woman’s tatas? For sure this is a male thing. Insecure in his own wangly dangly so as not to brag about other men’s wangly dangly but jealous because his wife sees all kinds of perky and curvy boobs. Hmmm…interesting.

    I’m with you on pot. If you want to do it fine. But like you, is it the smartest thing to get behind the wheel? Then I remember ME getting behind the wheel after drinking and so thankful that I never caused an accident or got arrested. And no, it was not the smartest thing to do.

    I suppose anybody who drinks should ask themselves if they are being smart by getting behind the wheel. This includes your parents as well. After David got his DUI after drinking 2 glasses of wine, or was it one?, either way, just the fact that he admitted to drinking wine gave the officer probable cause to arrest him. He even blew way under .08 btw. Doesn’t matter. He drank and got behind the wheel. It’s the same with pot. People will smoke and drive just as people drink and drive.

    I’ll get off my high-horse now.


    1. First off, I nearly spit my drink out when I read “wangly dangly.” Not once…not twice…but THREE times!! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or cry because I’m laughing so hard. And then I remember that this phrase is courtesy of my MOTHER-in-law and I suddenly want to cry.

      Anyway. Thanks for introducing that phrase into my lexicon.

      David got a raw deal, for sure. I still don’t see how that’s even fair or makes any kind of sense whatsoever, but it’s good advice to follow just in case.

      Carry on, and let’s never speak of wangly danglies again…


      1. Just staying true to myself and I’m pretty happy that you nearly spit your drink out and especially happy that you were laughing so hard you nearly cried. You see, that was my intent all along.

        And I succeeded.

        Have a great day and be sure to close your eyes to all things wangly dangly!!


  6. I haven’t been to a gym since we lived in Haiti, where, ironically, they are SOOOOOOO nice. The one where I belonged was on the side of the mountain in Petionville with a view of the ocean in the distance. I may not have had exactly the view either you or Tara had in the locker room, but I had an amazing sea view from my elliptical machine!

    Hugs from Ecuador,


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